I just got back from a Food & Culinary Professional conference in Napa Valley, CA. It was an exciting 2 ½ days of food and lectures from some top chefs. One food item trending this year is protein. Chef Lucien Vendome, Director of Culinary Innovations of the Nestle Prepared Foods Company states they are testing and creating new ways to increase the protein content of their products. To accomplish this, they are testing ways of having beans be the base for many of their sauces. We did a taste test of some of these sauces and I have to say they were quite tasty!
At the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) the chefs are encouraging their students and us to use more beans, a great low-fat source of protein, and to think outside the box and try beans other than the normal kidney, black, and pinto beans. The chef shared a great website for ordering beans; the Purcell Mountain Farms, which has more than 100 varieties of beans available. He also shared a Haba Bean Soup with Smoked Olive Oil recipe, I’m going to order the beans and give this recipe a try, more to come later! Oh, BTW the chef also suggests that you don’t order online, he states you should call so that you can hear the “lovely” accent of the lady who answers the phone!
A few more trends to watch for this year are:
Meatless Mondays – approximately 25% of us are flexitarians
High pressure processing (HPP) – is used to inactivate pathogens, yeasts and molds; boost shelf-life; and maintain colors, textures, flavors and nutrients that can be damaged by heat treatment. The Hartman Group states “HPP offers consumers the next level in fresh while retaining the halo of near raw.” Something that is important to me with this process is that it reduces or eliminates sodium-containing preservatives.
Stay tuned, I’ll be adding more food trends in the coming weeks.